Gary Kennewell’s multiple Group champion Conservatorium is out to improve on their first-up failure earlier in the month and take out the DC McKay Stakes 2014 at Morphettville this weekend.
The Royal Academy six-year-old is one of 16 sprinters making up the nominations for the $115,000 Group 3 MAC Just Over? Don’t Drive DC McKay Stakes (1000m) on Saturday, the meeting host to two Group 1 features.
Fifth in last year’s race behind General Truce, Conservatorium was in good form last spring during their visit to Perth where they won two of their three starts with victories in the Group 2 Lee Steere and the Group 3 AJ Scahill Stakes.
They returned on April 12 back home at Morphettville in the Group 3 RN Irwin Stakes (1100m) but could only manage to finish eighth behind Dreifontein – an effort they’ll be out to improve on second-up here.
The best performed RN Irwin Stakes runner nominated for Saturday’s DC McKay Stakes meanwhile is the Leon MacDonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained Bernardini four-year-old Essay Raider who ran fourth.
Prior to that they consistent galloper won two at Moprhettville during the summer, also running a brave second to Flamberge in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) during a trip to Flemington on New Year’s Day.
MacDonald & Gluyas are also represented in the nominations by Golden Lake four-year-old Nearest To Pin last seen running third to Natuzzi in a 1200m Caulfield sprint a fortnight ago.
Karacatis for Richard Jolly meanwhile ran fifth in the RN Irwin following an eighth in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield in February, the Hussonet gelding’s first run since winning the Listed Xmas Stakes (1200m) on Boxing Day in Melbourne.
Another notable hope coming via an unplaced RN Irwin run is the John Hyman-trained Esprit De Bullet.
Sixth in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning behind Snitzerland in February the rising nine-year-old veteran was third to Angels Beach two back in a Morphettville Listed sprint before a sixth in the Irwin.
Adding more interest to the race is the nomination of the Mick Price-trained General Nediym four-year-old General Peekay returning to racing after an 11 month break.
Winner of the Nitschke Stakes – Adelaide Guineas double last autumn, General Peekay hasn’t raced since their third behind Linton in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) here in May last year.
Price has also nominated for his Fasntet Rock mare Halle Rocks coming off an 1100m Caulfield win against her own kind on April 12.
Another classy last start winner in the mix, and a definite one to watch in this year’s DC McKay, is Anthony Freedman’s visiting Commands filly Minaj.
The New Zealand-bred, Flemington-trained three-year-old has won five of her nine starts to date, most recently travelling to South Australia for her good win over Miracles Of Life in the Listed Redelva Stakes (1050m).
Another Melbourne raider and last start winner nominated is the Peter Moody-trained Officer stallion Office Bearer who won the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1200m) at Sandown Lakeside last time out on March 22.
Moody has also entered his honest mare Kneeling for the DC McKay.
Other notable hopes include the Phillip Stokes-trained Couldn’t Agreemore coming off a second at Caulfield over the 1200m, the Robbie Griffiths-trained It Is Written down in class after a dead last in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes from mid-March and the Darren Weir-trained Siwa Lady who has won her past three on the trot.
See below for the full DC McKay Stakes 2014 nominations, the final field and barrier draw due out on Wednesday morning.
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2014 DC McKay Stakes Nominations
Morphettville Racecourse – 26/04/2014
|1||ALMIGHTY BULLET||John Hyam||90|
|3||COULDN’T AGREEMORE||Phillip Stokes||84|
|4||ESPRIT DE BULLET (NZ)||John Hyam||100|
|5||ESSAY RAIDER||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||92|
|6||GENERAL PEEKAY||Mick Price||88|
|7||HALLE ROCKS||Mick Price||89|
|8||HIDDEN VALUE||Trevor Dansie & Natasha Storr||92|
|9||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||101|
|11||KNEELING||Peter G Moody||86|
|12||MINAJ (NZ)||Anthony Freedman||88|
|13||NEAREST TO PIN||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||89|
|14||OFFICE BEARER||Peter G Moody||97|
|15||RICH JACK||Greg Eurell||74|
|16||SIWA LADY||Darren Weir||96|